pISSN 2288-6982
eISSN 2288-7105




Phys. Ther. Korea 2020; 27(1): 1-10

Published online February 20, 2020

© Korean Research Society of Physical Therapy

소도구를 이용한 등뼈 자가 관절 가동성 운동이 만성 목통증 환자의 통증, 관절가동범위, 기능장애에 미치는 영향

김수진1, 김선엽2, 이민지3

1대전대학교 일반대학원 물리치료학과, 2대전대학교 보건의료과학대학 물리치료학과, 3대전대학교 둔산한방병원 물리치료실

The Effects of Thoracic Spine Self-mobilization Exercise Using a Tool on Pain, Range of Motion, and Dysfunction of Chronic Neck Pain Patients

Su-jin Kim1, BHSc, PT, Suhn-yeop Kim2 , PhD, PT, Min-ji Lee3, MPT, PT

1Department of Physical Therapy, The Graduate School, Daejeon University, 2Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health and Medical Science, Daejeon University, 3Department of Physical Therapy, Dunsan Oriental Hospital, Daejeon University, Daejeon, Korea

Correspondence to: Suhn-yeop Kim

Received: October 22, 2019; Revised: November 23, 2019; Accepted: December 19, 2019

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background: Thoracic spine self-mobilization exercise is commonly used to manage patients with neck pain. However, no previous studies have investigated the effects of thoracic spine self-mobilization exercise alone in patients with chronic neck pain.
Objects: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of thoracic self-mobilization using a tool on cervical range of motion (ROM), disability level, upper body posture, pain and fear-avoidance beliefs questionnaire (FABQ) in patients with chronic neck pain. Methods: The subjects were 49 patients (21 males, 28 females) with chronic neck pain. The subjects were randomly divided into an experimental group (EG, n = 23) and control group (CG, n = 26). For the EG, thoracic self-mobilization was applied. We placed a tool (made with 2 tennis balls) under 3 different vertebral levels (T1-4, T5-8, T9-12) of the thoracic spine and the subjects performed crunches, which included thoracic flexion and extension in supine position. Five times × 3 sets for each levels, twice a week, for 4 weeks. Cervical pain, disability, upper body posture, FABQ results, and ROM were evaluated at baseline, after 4 weeks of intervention, and at 8 weeks of follow-up. Assessments included the quadruple visual analogue scale (QVAS); Northwick Park neck pain questionnaire (NPQ); craniovertebral angles (CVA), forward shoulder angle (FSA) and kyphosis angle (KA) measurements for upper body posture; FABQ and cervical ROM testing.
Results: The EG showed a statistically significant improvement after intervention in the QVAS (–51.16%); NPQ (–53.46%); flexion (20.95%), extension (25.32%), left rotation (14.04%), and right rotation (25.32%) in the ROM of the cervical joint; KA (–7.14%); CVA (9.82%); and FSA (–4.12%).
Conclusion: These results suggest that, for patients with chronic neck pain, thoracic selfmobilization exercise using a tool (tennis balls) is effective to improve neck pain, disability level, the ROM, and upper body posture.

Keywords: Chronic, Neck pain, Range of motion, Self-mobilization, Thoracic